We could all use some distractions here

Inspiring events in a reopening NYC

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I don’t even know what to say anymore. It’s been two weeks since I last checked in via this column, and in the space of that time the news cycle has been so relentless and turbulent that it would take some superhuman capacity to process it all. In this episode, we find our sentient orange fever dream and his unmerry band of grifter sycophants in a state of disarray because, after months of actively trying to contract and spread Covid-19, the inevitable has happened and he’s taken it as an opportunity to spread lies and hatred with renewed maniacal energy. The  question of whether we can collectively make it until  November 3—to say nothing of what happens if he gets another term—feels less hyperbolic with each blathering diatribe that emanates from his feeble, solipsistic mind, whether he’s brazenly misrepresenting his own infection and symptoms, blaming a sitting governor for a terrorist assassination plot against her, or blaming Californians for wildfires because they put water in the ocean to help tiny fish (???). It’s not great, guys. And don’t even get me started on the rising infection rates and violent anti-mask protests happening here in Brooklyn. The next few weeks are going to be a white-knuckle deal the order and magnitude of which is, like so much else this year, utterly unprecedented, so strap in and continue to be uncomfortable, I guess. Today is the last day that you can register to vote in New York, so if you haven’t yet, you know the drill.

OK, so I think we’ve established that we could all use some distraction here, and there is, mercifully, stuff to do in this glorious October weather, so my advice is to get out there and do it. This weekend, Bed-Stuy is hosting a two-day food crawl to celebrate African Restaurant Week, ComiCon is back in a new, virtual format, and an outdoor exhibition of sculpture by Bosco Sodi opens in a Red Hook parking lot. If you’re looking for a change of scenery, we’ve got a great list of ways to celebrate fall here in NYC and in the Hudson Valley, and I can personally recommend renting a kayak to paddle around the serene Tarrytown Lake as I did last weekend. It’s Digital Art Month, which means that there are augmented reality works on display throughout the city, including several in Industry City, which is also conveniently hosting an Oktoberfest event on Saturday. And tonight, the New Yorker Festival continues with, among other things, a discussion between AOC and Elizabeth Warren, ostensibly to remind us all what public servants who actually care about or even just acknowledge their constituents look like. 

This week, you can catch Jeff Tweedy and Norah Jones in a live, streaming chat about Tweedy’s new book, or the Fall 2020 edition of Pop Up Magazine, which is taking place virtually across several evenings. If you are trying to get in the Halloween spirit, Parklife is screening a variety of scary movies like Get Out and The Craft throughout the week, the Brooklyn Drive-In has Midsommar on the schedule next Thursday, and my friend Lauren alerted to the fact that a new Tana French novel, The Searcher, was released earlier this week. Finally, next Thursday marks BAM’s premiere of That Kindness: Nurses In Their Own Words, a new project from V, the artist formerly known as Eve Ensler, about the nurses on the frontlines of the pandemic, which sounds like a much-needed antidote to all the ugliness out on display right now. 

We’ve got more ideas to help keep you grounded in these truly insane times in our October Culture Calendar, and as always we welcome any tips and suggestions from you all that we may have missed. We are headed into crunch time, people, so take the time you need to decompress and then let’s get serious. Stay safe and stay sane and, with any luck, we’ll all have something to celebrate very soon. 

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